Secrets of the Police Rescue Rat Pack

A little while back I took part in a Land Search and Rescue workshop run by the Blue Mountains Police Rescue squad. It’s just one of the many great training opportunities thanks to the Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad.

Learning from each other - a great training weekend.

Learning from each other – a great training weekend.

On this two day workshop, we worked with our colleagues in other volunteer squads such as the SES and RFS. We learnt about Search Management from Police Rescue and put everything we learnt into practice during some NavEx and SarEx activities.

Bulkier and heavier than I'm used to

Heavier than I’m used to

One unexpected insight we got into Police operations this weekend, was the ration packs or “Rat Packs” that we were given. In fact, we were told that we were guinea pigs for the testing of what could become the new rat packs as part of their SOPSs during search and rescue operations. Actually, it turns out that we were the crash test dummies of the 2nd version of these packs. Even though they couldn’t tell us what happened to the first set of testers, we happily munched on, devouring our tasty bundles of joy.

Apart from the overall bulk and weight of the rat pack, these bags were pretty amazing. The 1 day pack certainly had enough food and sustenance for me for two days!

Day 1

  • Bounce Protein ball (coconut and macadamia)
  • Annie’s Fruit Leather (boysenberry and apple)
  • Brookfarm Gluten Free Muesli Bar
  • SPC Peaches
  • John West Tuna & Beans
  • Mrs May’s Almond Nutty Toffee Bites (delish!)
  • M&Ms
  • Squinch (Electrolyte powder)
  • PK chewing gum
  • Main Meal: Chicken Jambalaya + Hot Pack

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Without a doubt, the most impressive part of the pack, was the Hot Packs. Apparently, these are common amongst the military, but as a humble Aussie hiker, I’d never come across these. Put simply, it’s how to heat your main meal in what looks like a plain plastic bag, by only adding an inch of cold water to the bottom. Yep, with a few nifty little chemicals, these things work like magic. (I’m going to post a video in a coming blog me using one so you can see it in action).

Day 2

  • Up & Go
  • SPC Peaches
  • Oat Slice
  • Protein Bounce Ball
  • Brookfarm Muesli Bar
  • Annie’s Fruit Leather (boysenberry and apple)
  • Squinch (Electrolyte powder)
  • Main Meal: Beef Stew + Hot Pack
More yum on the 2nd Day

More yum on the 2nd Day

It was a good weekend with just the right balance of theory and practical. One of the particularly good outcomes, was getting to know some of the folk from the other agencies and how they work. In fact, we’ve already been on call-out operations with them since and it was great to work alongside some of these familiar faces.

Thanks to the Blue Mountains PRS (Particularly SD, IC and DA) for all their efforts. Great stuff.

Oh, and I found another use for the M&Ms in the rat pack!

photo

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Volunteering in the Outdoors

One thing that I’m convinced about in this crazy life, is that we’re not just put here on this amazing planet for our own benefit.

Something as simple as giving someone a smile or a random act of kindness, has the ability to give light to someone’s life. I consider myself so incredibly blessed in many ways, that when faced with the opportunity to help out, I find myself saying, ‘How can I not …?’

Looking for how you can be involved?

Looking for how you can be involved?

So when I first got into the outdoors over 10 years ago, I was excited to hear about the work of the Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad or BWRS and to be able to join this great squad.

Yes, a small little band of quiet achievers, we have tended not to promote ourselves in the past, but recently we came to the attention of the Sydney Morning Herald journalist Nick Ralston.

After a couple of phone interviews and an early morning photo shoot, with the help of our colleagues from Police Rescue and Bomb Disposal Squad, a great article appeared in last weekend’s newspaper.

So, if you found yourself reading that article, or reading this and wondering how you can use your existing outdoors and wilderness skills to help out in the Community… why not look to see if there’s a volunteer land search and rescue unit in your area, like us!

There’s probably loads of different organisations out there who are looking for keen volunteers. Anything from Landcare and Bush Regeneration groups, to Scouts and Girl Guides. The skills you have learnt over the years are valuable and you have the ability to share these with others and pass on the knowledge, or simply offer some muscle where it’s most needed.

… oh and if you’re in New South Wales, Australia, we’d love to hear from you!